What got me started on the craft of luthiery was a horrendous “repair” job by the local guitar tech/shop when I was 18.

I’d tried to dress the first 3 frets of my then favorite and most prized Ibanez USA Custom electric guitar in order to minimize fret rattle. No thanks to my inexperience; I messed up and had to send the guitar to the one and only guitar repair shop in Singapore then.

A complete fret dress would’ve done the job but the tech suggested a partial re-fret. However, instead of using an exact or similar sized fret wire for the job, a much smaller sized fret wire was used. The replacement frets were not properly seated in the fret slot and super glue was used to “raise” the replacement frets to make up for the difference in fret height. I was royally upset but had no recourse.

The fret job was unprofessional and the guitar played terribly. On top of that, I had to leave the guitar in the shop for more than a week. I later sold the guitar at a huge loss. Anyway, I look back on the subject “repair” incident as a blessing because that was what motivated me to work on my own guitars and introduced me to the unique and fulfilling craft of luthiery.

My set ups not only addresses the playability issues but also the overall tone of the instrument itself. I work and focus on an instrument at a time. I provide a very personal and meticulous service and will work with the client till he or she is happy with the set up of the instrument. I also usually encourage the client to watch the set up procedure, ask questions and learn.

I take pride in my meticulous fretwork. An inordinate amount of time is spent truing or leveling the fingerboard and addressing each fret individually. The fingerboard is perfectly prepped before fretting. This way all the frets, when properly seated are almost level with one another and minimal fret dressing is required. In some cases, no dressing is required. My goal in all this is to improve the playability and intonation of the instrument. My turnaround for fret jobs is pretty quick; about 4 days tops depending on my repair schedule.

I’m both grateful and thankful for the ability to be able to diagnose a problem correctly and have the expertise and resources to correct the problem. I love working on guitars and I find it both gratifying and satisfying when a repair job is well done.

I am motivated in my work as a luthier, as in everything else in my life, by my Christian faith. I thank God for the ability to diagnose a problem correctly and the skills to repair or restore an instrument to it’s original state and in most cases, improve the playability and tone of the instrument. All credit is given to my Lord and Savior in all that I am and in all that I do.

I will be honest in my appraisal of the instruments I work on.

I will be honest about my ability to repair or restore the instrument.

I will work on every instrument as if they were my own personal instruments.

I will always strive to perform the least invasive procedure and maintain the originality of the instrument.

I will explore all options with the owner of the instrument and come to an agreement to the course of action before commencing work.

I will use the best components, materials, and resources available for all repairs.

I will return all defective or replaced components or parts to the owner of the instrument.

I thank my clients for their trust, support and lessons learnt from working on their instruments and look forward to their continued support.

Please e-mail me at fix@mtlutherie.com for quotes and appointments.